Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

You can network with peers too!

The first day of an internship can be a frenzy. First, you meet your new boss, then you get your cubicle, then IT sets you up, and so on. It’s both exciting and overwhelming. And it’s all set up to make sure that you are able to excel throughout your internship.

In addition to all of the aforementioned activities of an interns first week, there is one event that I think most interns overlook. It’s meeting the other interns in your office (or city, depending on the size of the company).

In school, the need for networking is ingrained in students. It offers access to rare professional opportunities (internships and jobs), professional advice, and mentorship opportunities. So clearly it is an important part of business. And because of this importance, most students focus their time networking with professionals much older than themselves in hope of creating future opportunities. While it is important to network with establish professionals, I think students are overlooking the importance of networking with their peers. Though peers don’t have years of industry experience, or a network that could help you climb the corporate ladder, they are an important, and often overlooked, group to network with.  Peers can talk to you about the day to day grind, about the real company culture, and the potential for future advancement. They can also speak to the minute skills needed to be successful.

Additionally, networking with peers can come in handy in the future. Not every peer you network with is a future business partner, but they can provide value. These peers could be the leader of a major customer of yours, they could be the politician creating economic policies that directly affect your industry, or they could be a colleague who works within the same company as you.

Finally, your fellow interns should be your family during the time of your internship. They are in the same position as you, they are learning on the job, out of their depth, and depending on your situation, also new to the city you are in. Though networking with your fellow interns can provide you the benefits mentioned above. They can also become your best friends and make your internship experience much more exciting. You can go to happy hours together, attend company socials, and go sports outings.

In conclusion, when networking, don’t forget about your peers. They may not be the most helpful now, but could be extremely helpful in the future. And who knows, maybe you will make a new friend.